The snow has fallen, the mittens are out, and you’re wondering what you’re gonna do without Montreal’s amazing terraces until May. It’s okay, we’ve got you! Here are ten things to do in Montreal that will fill that sun shaped void in your life, and spice up your winter just the right amount. Let’s start with one thing that’s brand new this year, La Petite Floride!
13. Discover Montreal’s much needed Little Florida
Winter in Montreal has a few side effects including hibernation, isolation, and slushy streets. La Petite Floride rescues our social lives and saddened hearts through an outdoor communal space designed by La Pépinère (responsible for Les Jardins Gamelins, Le Village au Pied du Courant, and more). La Petite Floride’s aim is to bring back winter magic by assembling culinary culture, winter games, and art, all in one space, outside, in a mesmerizing space. As of early December, make your way to Mile End’s Le Champ des Possibles and indulge in this Floridian magical kingdom.
Facebook Page La Petite Floride
12. Ski on Mont-Royal!
Skiing, the classic wintertime sport. You might not be able to train for the Olympics on the Mont-Royal, but you can definitely have a bunch of fun. You know, for some skiing is also an excuse to enjoy a superb hot chocolate after, so there’s that too. If you don’t own skis and want to go wintertime wonderland anyway, there are many places to rent in Montreal. Fitz and Follwell and le Yéti are good stores for ski rentals. The view is breathtaking and it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful city skyline.
11. Winter time for the whole fam jam!
Whether they’re your own, or family in from out of town, kids and toddlers are sure to make you re-live that mystical winter magic and warm up your heart. Sledding down the Mont-Royal, spending the day at the Biodôme, Botanical Gardens, sipping a hot chocolate.. these are all classics that aren’t going anywhere. Take a look at our article on the topic for more info.
10. Take an Old Montreal Food Tour
It’s no secret that Old Montreal is a gem to be discovered. The Old Port, the European architecture, the cobblestone streets, etc etc… but what is kind of new is its foodie scene. With more and more people moving to the area, remarkable food vendors have been opening up and are well-worth discovering. The Old Montreal Food Tour takes you on a journey to many of them, highlighting Quebec culture and history as it does. What better way to enjoy the magic of winter than warm up and eat food, and then pop back out to discover the winter land for just a little bit, and then warm up with even more food!? The tour even features some warm soup broth during these cold months.
–> Check out the Old Montreal Food Tour
9. Warm up at the McCord Museum
Montrealers have been rushing to see the Notman, A Visionary Photographer exhibit since its opening in November, and you can too until March 2017. There, you can escape the cold and get lost in Canadian photographer William Notman’s aesthetic. Not your thing? Go for their permanent exhibit, or if you’ve got a young one with you, the McCord museum has Alfred’s Adventures running until mid-march, sure to please your mini-me to no end. Who is Alfred? A stuffed teddybear of course.
McCord Museum Website
8. Get adventurous and go ice fishing!
Okay, so maybe you won’t go bungee jumping this winter. Maybe you won’t go rappelling, or tanning, or mountain biking. But what you can do is go ice fishing. If you’ve only seen it on the screen, in a documentary, in your dreams… now’s the time! Get 2017 off to a bucket-list-crossing-off start and check out Old Montreal’s Ice Fishing Village this winter. A heated boat ride to prime ice fishing waters, heated tents, experts to guide you in this experience… they’ve got it all. Take a look at their calendar at book in advance here.
7. Of course, Igloofest!
Over the years, Igloofest has become a world famous electronic music event. Montrealers will brave the absolute coldest weather, suit up in ski jackets, and hit this outdoor dance floor. Igloofest brings in some of the biggest names in the industry, so I guess we can’t blame these crazy kids. It’s almost like an extreme sport, and people take great pride in their ability to bust a move in -40 degree weather. You can join in on the fun from January 14th to February 6th 2016, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Take a look at this years lineup here.
6. Montreal en Lumière Festival
Montreal en Lumière, responsible for the famous annual Nuit Blanche, is an all time winter favourite. In its mission to help Montrealers “take back winter”, the festival offers music performances, gastronomic events, art to boot, and yes Nuit Blanche, where the city doesn’t sleep and there are pockets of activities, events, and exhibits speckled all around town. From Feburary 23 to March 11 2017. Check out their latest announcements on their Facebook page.
5. Indulge in Merry Montreal’s tons of impressive activities, including a New Year’s party!
Bring in 2017 with the city you love: Merry Montreal is hosting a free outdoors party with an insane lineup, including Alex Nevsky. Until then, let them entertain you for the rest of 2016 with the cutest Christmas market, a holiday cinema, and some cute cozy “warming up stations” at La Place Jacques Cartier. Check out their website for more details.
4. Go Skating!
One great thing about winter is the skating rink cuteness factor that’s suddenly available to Montrealers. A hilarious (or graceful) date, a family outing, or maybe a test of your friendships, a little skating is good for everyone. This website will be your best friend on your skating quest: http://www.patinermontreal.ca/. It’s got all of Montreal’s skating rink’s details, such as location and opening hours.
3. Get festive with one of Montreal’s Holiday activities
The holidays aren’t all about gift shopping. They’re also about pretty bright lights, the gatherings, the special exhibits, and that magical holiday cheer. Check out our article on 11 things to do during this most wonderful time of the year.
Big news! Bota Bota has recently revamped their water circuit! So even if you’ve been, return and return again this winter 2017. With outdoor jogging out the window for your stress relief tactic, the occasional spa visit is an excellent replacement. In Montreal we have the elegant Bota Bota, which is set right on the water amidst an aesthetically pleasing collection of industrial and historic buildings. Get pampered, get hot tubbed, a massage, some water therapy, and get rid of those winter blues in a pinch.
1. Check out the city’s best new bars and restaurants
Steamed buns have found their Montreal flagship location! It’s Épicerie Hao, located on one of the city’s darling streets, Duluth. The small, sleek, and buntastic eatery was an instant hit among locals, who quickly got a handle on its pace: take it to go and eat it on a bench, a stoop, a park, a car, a bike… or grab a stool and make friends with those you rub shoulders with. Pork buns, veggie buns, all buns are seriously succulent. A must, found at 255 Rachel E.
Are you ready for this? No, you are not because nobody is ready for a Japanese beer garden in downtown Montreal with 400 plants, pool tables, and a decor by the same folk who brought you Apt. 200. Yes, you heard right. Downtown Montreal now has a force to be reckoned with. Catch your breath though, it’s ok, it’s not going anywhere. The mysterious Faubourg on St-Catherine is now home to this new classy oasis, perfect for your winter hideout sessions. With its big comfy sofas, an enchanting decor, tons of space, pool tables, cocktails, superb food… count Kampai as your life-saver for 2017’s long winter months. 1628 Ste-Catherine W.
If you are a health-conscious McGill student, or maybe a vegan-venturous visitor, visiting a McGill student, or maybe just a person who’ll be passing by downtown Montreal… Restaurant Lov is ready to serve you: open morning until night, with mostly vegan options and a few ethical extras (local artisan cheeses, honey, organic eggs), this spot will delight your tastebuds, make you to feel good about your food choices, and keep you warm ‘n spicy. Just opened this December! Check it out at 464 McGill.